The Depression and Anxiety Experts

Tomer Levin, MD.

My Background and Approach

Picture of Tomer
Top Doctors Psychiatry 2022

Treating depression and anxiety is my mission. They reverberate through families and across generations and great suffering occurs.

The good news is that we now have effective medication and psychotherapy treatments.  That’s why we need to identify depression and anxiety and talk about them openly. It’s the first step along the pathway of healing and recovery.

These three background stories will help you understand my approach to treating anxiety and drpression:

  1. I was trained as a clinical researcher so I believe that data-driven treatment drives better outcomes. That’s why I like using the latest diagnostic tests, treatments and psychotherapies.

  2. When I worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, they had a motto, “The best cancer care anywhere. Period.” While it’s true that they had the latest anti-cancer drugs, I saw first-hand that they also had better outcomes than other cancer centers because of a culture of caring.  Everyone was passionate about helping, from the doorman to the most important doctors, from the lab staff to the administrators who worked behind the scenes. Dotting i’s and crossing t’s with caring and compassion is vital to better outcomes. That’s why I do my best to be available for my patients and to make their treatment experience as pleasant and effective as possible.

  3. I am an expert in Collaborative Care Psychiatry, which is the most important model to come out of psychiatry in the past 15 years. It states that psychological and physical health are linked by a two-way street. Psychological illness is associated with physical illness and physical illnesses, especially when chronic, worsens psychological wellbeing. For example, it may surprise you that depression is as strong a risk factor as smoking for suffering a heart attack. This means that modern psychiatrists have to help people improve depression/anxiety in the short term but must also think about longer term psychological and physical vitality, stronger families and relationships and deeper roots in our communities.

My Qualifications & Training

I am double board certified in Adult Psychiatry and Consultation-liaison Psychiatry (psychiatry in the medically ill).

I completed two post graduate fellowships. The first was in Consultation-liaison Psychiatry at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (2001), where I was privileged to be mentored by Dr. Steven Saravay and Dr. Maurice Steinberg, amongst the founders of consultation-liaison psychiatry in the USA.

My second fellowship was in Public Psychiatry at Columbia University (2002). This program nurtures program leaders in psychiatry who will focus on delivery of psychiatric services across populations. My focus was on psycho-oncology which is important because cancer touches so many of us and our families. Here, my mentors were Dr Julian Ranz who founded the field of Public Psychiatry and the late Dr Sara L. Kellerman, who was the Commissioner for Mental Health in New York City. As a young psychiatrist, it was very inspiring for me to be influenced by such great paradigm shifters.

I am lucky to have had an international training, attending medical school at Monash University, Australia (1991). I did training in Internal Medicine at Hadassah Medical Center, Israel (1993-6) and psychiatric residency training at Eitanim Mental Health Center (1994-99)

I was fortunate to complete the Extramural Program for Residency Directors at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research (2002). Being taught by Aaron T. Beck M.D., the founder of Cognitive Therapy, and his equally inspiring daughter, Dr. Judith Beck, were formative to my approach to psychotherapy for depression and anxiety, given my prior training in psychodynamic therapy.

Leadership and Clinical Work

Head of Psycho-oncology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, now NorthWell Health (2001-2005).  I was privileged to work with Dr Kanti Rai who put chronic lymphocytic leukemia on the map. He was smart, humble and a fun to work for and he got me hooked on psycho-oncology.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (2005-2015).  Here I developed psychological services for leukemia, lymphoma, stem-cell transplant and ICU patients. I was mentored by Dr. Jimmie Holland who founded the field of psycho-oncology. Another mentor and colleague was Prof. David Kissane, an important psycho-oncology leader who took over the reins from Jimmie Holland. He taught me that sickness reverberates throughout the family, that better doctor-patient communication can impact outcomes and that death can be used to heal rifts in families and ease grief.

Weill Cornell Medicine/New York Presbyterian Hospital (2015-2017).  I was an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine/NYP where I established and led the Weill Cornell Psychiatry Collaborative Care Center, with its team of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurse practitioners and care managers.

Teaching

I taught doctor-patient communication, CBT and collaborative care psychiatry to medical students, resident doctors, fellows and attending physicians.
 

Research

My research focus was in three main areas: Collaborative and integrative care psychiatry, Doctor-patient communication, Acute Cancer Cognitive Therapy (which I developed).

Below are links to the eleven textbook chapters and over 50 research articles that I have authored.

Top Doctors Psychiatry 2022
verified by Psychology Today